Monday, April 28, 2008

Golden Week 2008

Golden Week is upon us once again.That week or so of assorted unrelated national public holidays in which many people take the opportunity to take a vacation.Many head overseas.Others back to their hometowns.Others to their local shopping malls.
Among the ragbag collection of national holidays celebrated are the Showa Emperors birthday celebrated 29th April,Constitution Day on May 3 and Childrens Day on May 5th.
The holiday break is prolonged as Greenery Day usually celebrated on May 4 which falls on a Sunday this year moves to Tuesday May 6th instead.
While most people get at least all or some public holidays off I shall be working as normal.
This year promises to be even busier than usual as two of the schools I go to will close and possibly relocate mid May and the class capacity of each lesson has expanded.Instead of a maximum of 4 students the maximum number per class is 5 students per lesson.
If the last two weeks are anything to go by,I can well imagine teaching 8 full lessons each day over the next week or so.

Food Prices
Ive noticed over the last two or three months that food prices here have slowly increased.Obviously this is down to the rising cost of oil and transport costs.It does however raise a few questions.Why should a can of imported Italian tomatoes retail for less than a can of locally grown and tinned tomatoes?108 yen as opposed to 118yen.
Surely the transport costs or even the carbon footprint of the Italian tin far outweigh those of the domestic produce?
Another oddity I came across was that a pack of 25 teabags can vary in price from 198yen to 238yen.This difference isnt between different shopping chains but individual branches within the same group.Its only 40 yen but if one is on a budget then it all adds up.
You would also think that large supermarket chains due to their scale would be able to offer produce and fruit at competitive prices yet as far as bananas are concerned it seems the small greengrocer I visit still offers better value for money.I refuse to pay 40 or 50 yen a banana.
More worrying is the slow,inexorable increase in the price of lunchboxes.Most are now fixed around the 450-500yen mark.It seems from a casual glance more are increasingly priced over the 500 yen mark which for many may be a psychological barrier as it involves spending more than one large coin for lunch.

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